VOLUME I - 2019-2020
EDITOR'S NOTE KATHLEEN DIAL
"ENERGY" MCKENNA WALTERS PHOTO
"TAMARYŌ, JEWEL DRAGON" ANNA TAYLOR FICTION
"WAR MOUTH" MICAH BURROUGHS ART
10 "AN APOLOGY TO WALT WHITMAN" MAJESTI POLITE POETRY 11 "UNTITLED" DENNIIS KHOR ART 12 "A POEM FOR YOU: I BELIEVE" LILLY CRUMP POETRY 13 "UNTITLED" GRACIE JACKSON PHOTO 14 "PUMBA’S ADVENTURES" ARTIOM BUZA FICTION 15 "UNTITLED" LOGAN ELMORE PHOTO 16 "THE BURGER QUEEN" OLIVIA SMITH POETRY 17 "BIG IRON" DAVID ABERNETHY FICTION 28 "UNTITLED" KYLE BEAUREGARD PHOTO 29 "I AM ENIGMA" ANONYMOUS POETRY 30 "THE HILLS OF ME OLDE HOME UP NORTH: AN MIDDLE ENGLISH SINGEN" CARSON LUX POETRY 31 "FOLLOWED" MORGAN BURROUGHS ART 1| THE UNSPOKEN
"MIDNIGHT MUNCHIES" ANNA TAYLOR CREATIVE NON FICTION
"ODE TO MUSIC" VICTORIA CARDOSO POETRY
"UNTITLED" DANIELLE CUTLER PHOTO
"EGGMUNDS EGGCELLENT EGGVENTION" LOGAN ELMORE FICTION
36 37 38 39 43 44 46 49 50
"CITY LIGHTS" KALEI SMITH ART "THE GHOST OF A FLEA" LOGAN ELMORE POETRY
" " LEAH THOMAS ART "GOING TO THE RACES" LEXI BROWN FICTION "STUCK IN YOUR HEAD" MICAH BURROUGHS ART "INTRUDER ALERT" DAVID ABERNETHY CREATIVE NON FICTION "A CHANCE TO SAVE THE WORLD" ANONYMOUS FICTION "UNTITLED" OLIVIA SMITH PHOTO "DEEP SEA" LEXI BROWN PHOTO cover art
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EDITOR'S NOTE This year has been trying in almost every aspect. From the beginning of the school year there has been something happening every day, both good and bad. Everyone’s patience has been tested this year and everyone has been stressing about everything the entire year. Now more than ever, everyone is dealing with stress and anxiety and during these times it is important to find an outlet that helps relieve the pressure of everyday problems. Literature provides an escape from reality, whether it is a cathartic experience or a more jovial and uplifting experience, literature helps in copious ways. It is important to remember that there is a lesson in every piece of writing, it might be a small lesson or it might be an important lesson to carry throughout life. Writing is essential to life and is one of the few things that can solve almost any problem one may have. Since the world is going through so many changes and almost nothing is going to be the same, it is crucial to learn to cope with these changes in a healthy and meaningful way. Hopefully while reading this journal there is an emotional release of some kind and a connection with the art on a deeper level to further show the impact and importance of literature as well as to provide a form of comfort.
Kathleen Dial HEAD EDITOR 3 | THE UNSPOKEN
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A banquet always begins with a formal toast.
TAMARYŌ, JEWEL DRAGON “Kampai!”
Dimly lit lanterns were strung about the walls. Soft pastels of pink and green were carpeted about the floors. Faint plucking of a shamisen performed by delicate fingers interrupted at times by joyful laughter. The host of such a gathering, a geisha, was clad in her traditional kimono and vibrant obi. Her makeup, an ivory white, was defined with rich red, pale pink, and inky black. Her hair was tied back in a bun, revealing the elegant ‘w’ shape painted onto the nape of her neck. Three-hundred yen was presented to her with a merry “doozo!” from guests. Those guests were travelers from the west who wanted to experience the excellence of this ancient, artistic practice. ‘Person of the arts’ was her title; no more than that, and certainly no less. She dressed up, but was never actually noticed. She sang, but was never truly heard. She smiled, but was never especially happy. Ever since she was a little maiko she underwent strict training, and upon becoming a geisha, she was told that was her only purpose. Her life and philosophy were dedicated to one thing: the entertainment of others. From the moment she greeted the guests to the time she bid them farewell, it was a geisha’s honor to make them glad to be alive. A marvelous scene, truly. However, this splendor was yet another common day for the geisha. The duty she was born to fulfill, bringing glee to others, was now her daily profession. This was the duty of Tamaryō. Tamaryō, who bore the name meaning “Jewel Dragon”, believing her purpose was more than what her older sisters taught her.With an elegant stride, she walked home in her elevated geta sandals. Tonight’s celebration was a rather long one, lasting until midnight. It was a chilly night in Kyoto’s winter, though her ten-kilogram kimono was like a fur coat. The wood of her footwear gently clicked against the smooth cobblestone path—gentleness quickly became a habitual mannerism after training for several years. Now, Tamaryō could not lose discipline even if she tried; her older sisters were strict when training her.
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Crashing were the sounds of a waterfall, a river flowing in the heart of the mountainous valley, the rush of water trickling against its rocks. A kitsune of seven tails pranced through the grass, for it heard the shuffling of a flowing linen kimono through a plush field; time for its owner to return home. White fur bouncing in the wind, paws rushing through the flowers of a neatly groomed lawn, it made its approach. “Yuki!” Tamaryō exclaimed, finally feeling joy for the first time today. “I’m home!” She smiled as she spoke. The small, fox-like creature leaped into her arms. Seeing her only ally, feeling the kitsune’s soft fur against her makeup-clad face, it brought her comfort. Though the kitsune could not speak, Yuki was Tamaryō’s only companion; a companion with a bond stronger than love itself. It was as though if anything were to happen to one, the other would never feel complete again. They shared their loneliness with one another, turning it into an understanding; knowing contentment only in each other’s company. A roar interrupts their reconciliation, the ground vibrating with its sound and booming as if it were a great thunder. This was a noise only a dragon could produce. Fear washed over Tamaryō’s now trembling body. Tamaryō, “Jewel Dragon”, one who greatly feared monsters such as those. She hastily lowered herself in alarm to the quaking ground, the grass a cushion to the harsh drop. The kitsune, now frightened, hurries away. The darkness concealed the ledge into the rushing river, causing Yuki to fall in. Swept by the rushing water, it disappeared in seconds. Tamaryō was still horrified, and too shocked to move. Her only friend, her loyal kitsune, was gone in an instant. Silence once again fills the air.
⿓ Since then, the same cry of a dragon erupted each night. Tamaryō, restless since that moment, began plotting her attack. She was no longer a geisha of gentle and timid nature; she became a warrior whose nature was overcome with a vengeance. Her fear of dragons still remained, yet she would not let such fears deny her the recovery of her only partner. Tamaryō, “Jewel Dragon”, would take back what was so dear to her heart. The moon arose for another midnight, its sliver glow reflecting against the snow upon the ground. Tamaryō abided near the waterfall, waiting for the moment the dragon would appear.
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A chill ran down her spine. The crisp snowfall was nipping her bare face, and the breeze against the rush of water caused the atmosphere around her to become more frigid. Her normal kimono was now replaced by warmer, traditional hanten garments. She was accompanied by a yumi bow; crafted with smooth bamboo and a lengthy string to connect its ends. Though this armor was not much, it would offer protection from potential harm. Finally, the moment arrived. Another groundbreaking roar surfaced from behind the waterfall. It echoed throughout the valley, likely waking every neighbor from their night’s slumber. At last, a monstrous dragon emerged from the waterfall in all of its glory; the water god, floating above the mist. He was white-scaled and crystal-clawed. Its slick scales shone like bright and polished jade, and its eyes a piercing scarlet. The dragon’s elongated figure swayed and spun with an elegance only a trained geisha could mimic. Tamaryō, “Jewel Dragon”, refused to let this beast intimidate her. Tamaryō climbed to the highest peak she could find and observed the monster. Steady, patient, she identified the precise moment its back dips downwards. Tamaryō stepped back for a deep inhale, recollecting herself, and prepared her descent. The geisha’s leap lacked grace, a piercing scream of shock passed through her quivering lips; a mannerism that her older sisters would despise. She mounted on the slippery scales, grasping a spike from its spine. Riding on the back of a dragon was quite a challenging task, the woman slipped and nearly dropped to her demise several times. Wind blasted through her raven locks, forming tangles and knots; the air at such escalation became a freezing sting. Tamaryō’s eyes overflowed with tears, liquid drops of rage falling down against her rosy cheeks. She gripped the spikes harder, waves of fury engulfing her. Previously dimmed embers of hopelessness were now ignited into a blazing fire of passion within the geisha. The dragon, however, offered no response; it simply landed on an icy mountain top. With this rough landing, Tamaryō plummeted into the soft, powdery snow. She approached the coiled beast gingerly, her fingers circling around the grip piece of her yumi bow. Arrow in position, she prepared to strike at any moment. Teeth chattering, body shivering, the geisha appeared weak, but her spirit prevailed firm. “You took it, didn’t you?” Knees unsteady, trudging through dense snow, she shouts at the beast facing her. “I know you did! Return Yuki at once!” she accused, full of anguish. The dragon’s sharp eyes sprung open, emitting a ruby glare. It huffed, the snow around its nose driving upwards from the force.
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“A kitsune only departs from this world once all nine of its tails are cut away, child.” a powerful yet calm voice returned; a voice fit only for a dragon. Tamaryō had not at first presumed it would understand what she was addressing, yet she expected no less of a deity. She paused, lowering her weapon, and considered it. “You are mistaken. My kitsune only has seven tails,” the woman retorts, impatience laced within her voice. Her demands remained clear in her head. “Am I? Perhaps you happen to be the one that is mistaken here, young one,” declares the dragon, voice remaining tranquil. “My intentions in coming to you were not to bicker, will you please just—” Before Tamaryō could complete her sentence, she was interrupted by a mighty howl from behind her. She whipped around, coming face to face with sparkling golden orbs, an extended canine snout, and gleaming fur. The geisha halted all movements, frozen in hysteria. Her yumi bow now dropped to the ground, sinking in the snow. Yuki, her faithful pet, had evolved into a gleaming, nine-tailed kitsune. Brilliant red patterns were engraved into its pearly fur. The aura surrounding it was now emitting a dazzling luminescence. Nine tails were sprouting from behind, each one a pure opaline brilliance. Tamaryō, “Jewel Dragon”, the geisha who no longer fears dragons; the geisha who is united with her kitsune; the geisha who is happy.
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AN APOLOGY TO WALT WHITMAN - MAJESTI POLITE -
I hear America crying, the silenced tears I see Those of every African American, each one’s voice of beautiful crescendo as it should be shot down by a single bullet of a gun The Children crying their self into a permanent slumber from not finding love within their parents but with the pills they take The animals cry from the lack of human respect as they watch their homes being cut down and turned into a man’s place of work The cries of every Mexican family as they are broken up and taken away from their American life when they are called not American enough. The cries of the air as it takes away what we thought were beautiful clouds, but are soon replaced with dark shadows of smoke from factories. The troops cry their lives away as they are sent away to fight a battle that was never ours, just to come back not knowing who they are The breathtaking cries of a Man who we worship every Sunday, but hate every other day because we claim if he was real then bad things wouldn’t happen. Each cry to whom belongs to him or her and shared with another The day that belongs to happiness soon turned to the night of sorrows, sadness, and suicide Crying with open wounds their powerful souls shall rest.
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UNTITLED DENNIIS KHOR 11 | THE UNSPOKEN
A POEM FOR YOU: I BELIEVE I Believe, I Believe Feels like you're on the edge right now All the voices in your head get loud You wish you could shut them out You Feel Like you let Us down It’s annoying I Believe, I Believe Feels like your on the edge right now Your Screaming and shouting wishing that you didn’t feel This Wishing it could all go away your sitting there crying looking for pain You feel like you let us down But, I Believe, I Believe You don’t know It’ll Will be Alright I Believe, I Believe You don’t know that You’re not alone I Believe You don’t that we are with you always You think that Your Drowning and you can’t reach the top and no one is there to help you I Believe, I Believe that you don’t know I am here with you to reach in and grab you from the water to bring you to the top You don’t know that we are waiting at the top for you To Cherish you with love and comfort to let you know that you’re not alone we are all there I Believe, I Believe You don’t know we are in the water with you bring you to the top to calm the storm inside you You don’t know that you were pulled from the water into our arms You don’t know that you were never drowning we were always here with you I Believe, I Believe You thought you were doing just fine before you met me But, You weren’t You don’t know that I First time I saw you I knew something was wrong you didn’t know I will make it better for you I Believe, that you don’t you’re loved more than you think I Believe, I Believe That we’re in this together I Believe that you Believe me, That you Believe us. I Believe that you know now that you’re loved, cared for and was never alone from the beginning. We Believe, We Believe That you can get through this and come out strong like always You Believe, You Believe That you’re you gonna come out strong even though you know it’s hard sometimes But you know that’s what we’re here for to help through the storm and waves YOU Believe, You Believe that you now know.
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UNTITLED GRACIE JACKSON
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Once upon a time, there was a warthog living in Sudan. But this warthog never fit in with any of the others. He always kept getting in trouble because he started being around the mischiefs. Finally, the community had enough of his problems and made him stand before the elders. They told him, “Pumbaa, because of your actions we are exiling you from this community.” There was crying, there were shocked gasps because this was the first time anybody was exiled from this community. Pumbaa could care less, he left for the jungle and kept living the Hakuna Matata lifestyle. During his walk through the jungle, he ran into somebody. It was Timon the meerkat who was an outcast. They started to get to know each other and the next thing you know, they were talking about their problems with the law and obedience. They found a boiling spring and hopped in. All of a sudden it started bubbling even more. There they really got to know each other and planned on some adventures together. As soon as Pumbaa got out the water stopped bubbling. OOF.” Uhhh Pumbaa, why did the water stop bubbling?” “ Oh I don’t know Timon, it must’ve liked us or something.” But Timon knew for sure why the water stopped. He jumped out as fast as possible in disgust and jumped in the mud to roll around a bit. Soon enough Pumbaa had joined him. They decided to go find some food. So they climbed the mountain and found a bee’s nest but they couldn’t resist the smell of honey. They grabbed the nest and ran which made the bees furious. They were no match for the painful bees. They finally dropped the nest and jumped in the water to get away. Now they’re in pain and hungry. So they settled for some bugs. Now they were full and decided to take a quick nap. They woke up not knowing what day or what time it was. That’s because they weren’t in the jungle anymore, they were in Madagascar. They didn’t know anybody there. They decided to go explore and found a waterhole. There were hippos and giraffes and lions. It was like paradise. Everybody was living in peace. Soon they met the king, Alex the Lion. Alex was a fair ruler but he was young and liked to have fun. Pumbaa and Timon decided to introduce themselves. They were welcomed with open arms and invited to dine. They ate and drank and talked. Soon they became friends and decided to have a little fun. They decided to chase some of the zebras around. Pumbaa was kicked by one of those striped donkeys. Looks like the zebras were still mad about their precious fur. Now because Alex decided to chase them around, the zebras rebelled against him. Soon enough there was a civil war going on in peaceful Madagascar. The zebras were a somewhat worthy opponent for the lions. Pumbaa and Timon ran away back to the jungle and stayed there. They felt like they were responsible for what happened in Madagascar. But Alex had other plans for them, so he called in the penguins. Rico was a unit when it came to kidnapping but Kowalski was the brains and Skipper was the leader and we can’t forget Private. They brought them to Alex but there was peace again. Alex decided to teach them a little lesson and hunted them for one day. He found them and was about to eat them but decided not to, instead he locked them up in the plane and shot them back into the jungle. The moral of the story is to stay obedient and never run from your problems.
PUMBA'S ADVENTURES 14 | THE UNSPOKEN
UNTITLED LOGAN ELMORE
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THE BURGER QUEEN OLIVIA SMITH
There was a young girl, all pompous and fat She would not see anything, for she was blind as a bat Working at burger king was not a surprise The only thing she was good at was making some fries Working in the kitchen was not her dream job But if she didn't have one she would surely sob She tried to get hired at many different places But she got turned down because she was ugly and had braces When she showed up to work the very next day, Her boss started yelling at her and she didn't know what to say â€œThe drink machine is empty, why don't you think You even left dishes piled in the sinkâ€? She had left the restaurant in a complete utter mess So she stormed off to the back all sad and depressed She wanted to quit so very bad, But this is the only job she had ever had Her boss came back and said get back out there Just do your job with a little more care. She decided that moment to try her very best She knew she would be just as good as the rest
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CHAPTER ONE: TO THE TOWN OF AGUA FRIA The Arizona Ranger rode from Western Arizona across the whole state. He was a drifter, and settled in no particular spot. He rode the Arizona plains and took down lawbreakers and outlaws. However, even after taking down man after man, The Ranger was not very well known. He was a stranger to everyone. The Ranger had just been through Yuma and was still riding on. After a few days, The Ranger had come to the next town, Agua Fria. He came riding from the South side slowly looking all around. A normal town, but just like the ones before it, dead and quiet. The Ranger didn’t come to this town by chance however, he came here for one outlaw in particular, a vicious one. After the Ranger had finished studying the town from afar, he rode in. The Ranger came up to the entrance and looked down at the sign: “Welcome to Agua Fria” That’s all it read. The Ranger slowly rode through the town and examined everything: The General Store, The Undertaker’s Place, The Hotel, Johnson’s Coral, Wells Fargo, New and Used Guns, Bud’s Whiskey, Trading Post, Town Jail, Sheriff's Office, and the Saloon. The rest of the places were either just markets or just old buildings and antique stores. The Ranger kept riding on through the town, and not just looking at the stores and buildings, but the people as well. The Ranger got many weird looks, but not a word was said about him, at least not to his face. “He’s an outlaw loose and runnin’.” Came the whisper from each lip. “And he’s here to do some business with the big iron on his hip.” The townsfolk said all kinds of things about him, good and bad, but most folks didn’t know what to think of him. The ones who thought he was good really had no reason to, just their guess, but the people who called him bad had a little more reasoning, on account of his badgeless black shirt. The Ranger wore all black.However, despite the missing badge, the Ranger was a Ranger. A ranger on a mission.
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CHAPTER TWO: TEXAS RED The Ranger rode down past all the buildings and townsfolk down to the end of the street, The HorseShack. He needed a place for his horse to stay, on account of that he might stay in town for a night or two. The Ranger got off his horse and grabbed it by the bridle. The Ranger walked into the barn and saw no horses in the stalls, only one Hispanic man sleeping in the back of the barn in an old wooden chair. The man woke up after the Ranger took two steps in the building, on account of the clinking noise his spurs and big iron made. “Hola señor, please forgive me, we do not have many strangers in Agua Fria.” The man got up and walked to the front where the Ranger was. “You wish for your horse to stay here, no?” “Yes.” The Ranger responded. “Muy bueno, very good señor. How long will you be staying with us?” The Ranger paused and scanned the area around him. “Anywhere between one to two nights.” “Ah, very good. It is seventy-five cents a day, and twenty more cents for a wash.” “I’m alright, thank you.” The Ranger started to head out. “Oh, señor!” The Ranger turned around and stared at the man dead in the eyes. The man paused and his jaw clenched. “Um.. whenever you want to pay, anytime is alright. There is no rush.” The Ranger nodded and headed out. The Ranger walked around the town for half an hour visiting different places, until he arrived at the last spot he hadn’t yet been in, The Sheriff's Office. He walked in and again, empty, like most of the places. The Ranger looked around the vacant building in search for the Sheriff, until he found him sitting on the back balcony of the upstairs. The Ranger walked up to the balcony door and opened it, the Sheriff jumped as he looked back to see who was intruding. The Sheriff looked at the Ranger and his eyes immediately darted down to the Ranger’s hip where his big iron was.
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“Howdy there, stranger.” The Sheriff started, “I’m Sheriff Thomas Almond, nice to meet ye.” The Sheriff stuck out his right hand suggesting a handshake. The Ranger agreed, and they shook hands. The Sheriff’s handshake was firm but jittery. “Well, I guess it’s only fair that I know who you are.” The Sheriff said still standing. “I’m just a Ranger ridin’ around the state lookin’ for trouble.” “Ah, well if it’s trouble you’re starting I’d think twice about that, however, if it’s trouble you’re a-lookin’ to break up, you’re mighty welcome.” “I’m not here to start anything, be assured of that.” “Well, what’s the trouble, uh, I’m sorry what’s your name?” The Ranger looked at him for a bit, then spoke. “I don’t tell people my name, sorry.” The Sheriff lifted his hat and scratched his head. “Well, I don’t know why you wouldn’t, but I can accept that. After all, a name isn’t a person's identity, right?” The Ranger nodded. “So, what’s this trouble you’re lookin’ fer?” “Let’s not do this, Sheriff, I think I’d be correct in assumin’ we both know why I’m here.” The Sheriff looked down and back up again. “Well, just why are you here? Just so our thoughts line up.” “I’m looking for an outlaw that’s been stayin’ here for quite awhile now, a vicious killer, though a youth of twenty-four.” The Sheriff didn’t respond. “The man who’s killed twenty men.” No response from the Sheriff. “Sheriff, the man I’m talking about is Texas Red.” The Sheriff clenched his fist tighter by his side, breaking the pencil he was holding. 19 | THE UNSPOKEN
“Yeah… yeah figured as much.” “Then our thoughts line up?” “Our thoughts line up.” There was a slight pause between the two, then the Sheriff spoke. “Please, will ya sit down?” They both sat and looked down at the town. “So, Texas Red, huh?” The Sheriff started. “Yep, that’s the one.” “Alright.” The Sheriff paused again, then spoke. “Yeah but, uh, I don’t think Texas Red would really be worth goin’ after.” The Ranger’s eyes squinted more. “And why is that?” “Well you said it yourself, twenty men had to take him, and let me tell ya, twenty men had made a slip.” “Yeah, I know.” “You a bounty hunter or something?” “Nope.” “You ever killed a man before, son?” The Ranger nodded yes. “Do you consider yourself to be experienced with a gun?” The Ranger smiled at him. “Yeah, I tell ya what, people’s been comin’ up to my office talkin’ about you. Sayin’ how you’re a criminal and how I need to go after ye, but you ain’t committed a single crime yet, apart from not paying’ for a horsewatchin’ but the pay ain’t required ‘til after the horse has been watched.” “Did the man at the stable come to you and tell you that?” “Mm-hm. Said you were scary and a ladrón.” The Ranger didn’t respond. “That means thief in the Spanish language.” “I know.” The Sheriff looked at the Ranger. “You know Spanish?” “I know some.” “Well I’ll be dogged, you’re the first person I’ve met in ten years who knows the language of the Spaniards.” The Ranger smiled. “¿Cómo te gusta esta ciudad?” The Sheriff asked. “Es pequeño pero agradable.” The Ranger replied. The Sheriff chuckled as a smile grew across his face. “¿Realmente me entiendes?” The Sheriff asked.
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“Si.” The Ranger replied. “Dang, boy you’re more than I thought ye were!” The Ranger smiled again. “To tell ya the truth yer prob’ly brighter than that ol’ Texas Red, ye know?” “I dunno, Sheriff, we’ll see.” The Sheriff took out a cigarette and lit it, then gave it to the Ranger. “We will indeed.” CHAPTER THREE:THE OL’ GENERAL STORE After the Ranger finished speaking with the Sheriff, he walked downstairs and into the town. He looked around the square and decided to go into the General Store. He walked inside and, just like the other places, it was empty. In the back was an older woman wiping down a counter. The Ranger didn’t say anything, he just walked around looking at what she had. After she finished wiping she looked up at him, but unphased by his big iron. She stared at him for a moment then spoke in her loud, rough voice.“You were that stranger that came in here ‘bout thirty minutes back ain’t ye?” “Yes ma’am, I am.” “Ye didn’t buy anything last time, you plan to just look around again this time?” “No ma’am, I plan to buy something this time around.” “Ah, well that’s wonderful, son.” The Ranger looked around the store and examined the items and their price.“Pretty fair prices ya got here’ ma’am.” “I guess so.” She responded as she pulled out a cigarette. “A pound-a-rice: eighty cents. Pound of roasted coffee: forty cents. Barrel of flour; five dollars even. You must make good money here, huh?” “I’m livin’ off it.” “Well, I could sure go for some coffee, I’ll think I’ll buy a pound of that.” “Alright.” The Ranger picked up the coffee and walked over to the woman and took out some change.“That’s ten, fifteen, twenty, twenty-five… thirty-five… forty cents, right there.” “Alright that’s the price, thank you, sir, good day.” The Ranger got his coffee and started to head out, when he stopped. “Oh, I was going to ask you a question, ma’am.” The woman looked up at him. “Are you aware of an outlaw by the name of Texas Red?”
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“Yeah I’ve sawed him before, he came into my store one time too.” The Ranger turned around to face her. “I’m new here in town but, I gotta know, is it true that he’s killed twenty men?” “As true as the day is long. But just because he’s a killer doesn’t mean I didn’t make him pay for his cigars, which he did.” “Dang, twenty men.You gotta be pretty brave to face a man like that.” “Well if the Lord wants me to go, it’ll happen, it’s His choice when.” “That is a wise way to live, ma’am. Anyone here in Agua Fria try to take him?” “Two. Ol’ Scruffy and Big Dan, but they’s two stupid miners is all they were. You gotta be real dumb to take on a man like Texas Red.” “Okay, sounds good, thank ye, ma’am.” The Ranger started to walk out, when the woman stopped him. “Hold it there, son. You ain’t thinkin’ ‘bout tryin’ to take down Texas Red are ye?” “Yes ma’am I am, I’m set on it.” “Son, you heard me say twenty, right? As in twenty living, breathing men? Twenty men had tried to take him, twenty men had made a slip.” “Yes ma’am, I heard ye.” “You know what you are, son?” The Ranger didn’t respond. “An idiot.” The Ranger just smiled and turned around. The old lady shook her head and got back to cleaning up her place, The Ol’ General Store. CHAPTER FOUR: WORD SPREADS The Ranger walked out of the store and started down to the Hotel. He walked down the street and still got weird looks from people. He got halfway down the street when he was stopped by an old man with a long grey beard and an old boater hat. “Hey there, mister, how are ye?” The Ranger examined him, then spoke.“I’m doing fine, thank you.” The Ranger kept walking but the man walked with him. “My name is Baker Jackson, I’m the undertaker in this fine town.” The Ranger stopped and looked at him. “What can I do for you, Undertaker?”
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“Well I’s just been walkin’ around town when I heard the strangest thing.” The Ranger nodded, signaling the man to go on. “Well, like I said, I’s just been walkin’ around town, mindin’ my own business acourse, when I heard the strangest thing comin’ from the porch of the ol’ gun place.” The Ranger was listening. “Well, some guy was standin’ there, sayin’ how some Ranger was here to take an outlaw back alive or maybe dead. He said the Ranger had a big iron on his hip. I was a-wonderin’, are you that Ranger?” The Ranger paused for a moment, then spoke. “Yes, I am that Ranger.” “Oh I just knew you were him! On account of I’ve never seen you here in town before. So yer really thinkin’ ‘bout takin’ down Texas Red? The Texas Red hidin’ out here? In our town?” “Yes, old-timer. That Texas Red.” A troubled look flooded the man’s face, then he spoke.“Hey listen, youngster, you seem like a nice man with a whole carton of confidence, however, I gotta ask ye to reconsider on this one.” “I’m sorry, Undertaker, but I’m set on gettin’ Texas Red, alive or dead.” “Ah now see you don’t understand, you know how many men Texas Red’s killed?” “Mm-hm.” “How many then?” “Twenty.” The old man paused, then spoke again. “Well, I guess you do know.” The Ranger nodded. “Well, if that is the case then why ya still set on it? Twenty men had tried to take him, twenty men had made a slip.” “I've heard, Undertaker.” “Then why are ye doin’ it? Is it for the money? ‘Cause I tell ya, five thousand dollars ain’t nothin’ compared to seein’ another day, and that’s a fact, son.” “It’s not the money, Undertaker.” “Then what is it for, son? Glory?” The Ranger didn’t respond. “Son, glory isn’t everything, and money sure isn’t everything. I’d pack up and head back where you came from because the word’s spreadin’ and it’s a-spreadin’ fast.” The Ranger paused, then spoke.“It’s not for the glory, Undertaker.” The Ranger got up closer, and lowered his voice. “There’s a certain point where a man’s gotta be stopped, and twenty lives just so happens to be too much, and that’s a fact.” 23 | THE UNSPOKEN
The Undertaker didn’t respond. “Plus, I can’t go back to where I came from. I’m a drifter.” The Undertaker walked away, and so did the Ranger. The word was spreading, and it was spreading fast. CHAPTER FIVE: JOHNSON’S CORRAL The Ranger got to the Hotel and opened the door. Empty, except, of course, a man behind the counter. He was a skinny man with a thin black mustache, and was digging around in a drawer behind the counter. The Ranger walked up to him and set the pound of coffee on the counter. “What can I do for ya, sir? You want a room?” The Ranger nodded. “Yes sir, I do, thank you.” The Clerk stuck out his hand, implying a handshake. They then shook hands. “Thank you, sir, for choosing us over that dirty stinkin’ saloon down the street. When most people come into town they’d rather stay in a big saloon with drinks and girls. Believe me, it gets irritating for my business.” The Clerk quit digging through the drawer, and closed it. “Plus it’s got a pond next to it. Big deal.” “Oh, no, I understand.” “Alright and how long will you be staying with us?” The Ranger thought about it for a bit, then spoke. “Just one night.” “Alright, sir, that’ll be three dollars even.” The Ranger reached into his pocket and got out three dollars. “Thank you sir, and you’ll be staying in room number one.” The clerk reached behind and got the key to room one. “Here you are.” The clerk said as he handed it to him. The Ranger took it and turned to head upstairs.The Ranger walked up to room one and hung his belt and hat on the hooks in his room.He set his iron on the little chair in the corner.He walked to the window in his small abode and looked out to see the town again. It reminded him of so many other towns he’d visited, but the people were always different. He really didn’t think the town was too bad, but he was getting annoyed by everyone telling him how young and arrogant he was. Either way, he didn’t really even care about the coffee, he just wanted to buy something so the lady would stop nagging. Some time went by and word kept spreading. It was about supper time and it had been some time since the Ranger had eaten, so he figured he’d go out. He went down the stairs to greet the Clerk, but he wasn’t there. The Ranger then went outside and headed to the nearest place to eat. “Johnson’s Corral” was the name.The Ranger walked up and went into the place. It was actually kind of busy tonight, at least six tables full. The place was all lit up and even had a piano player.The Ranger walked in and sat at the nearest vacant table and waited for someone to take his order.
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“Hello there stranger, what can I get for ye?” The waiter asked. “Howdy, can I get a beef plate with a biscuit and beans? I’m starved.” The waiter’s face went down and he stared at the Ranger. There was a pause, then the Ranger spoke. “Mister if you got somethin’ to say you better say it now and if it’s somethin’ about that dern outlaw, Texas Red, and how he’s killed twenty men you’d better keep yer mouth shut.” The waiter remained speechless, then spoke. “You’re the Arizona Ranger, ain’t ye?” The Ranger shook his head in annoyance and looked down at the table rubbing his hands through his hair. “The Arizona Ranger?” Came a voice from the bar. A young, strong man with a black Nevada 5” hat stood up and turned around to face the Ranger. “Where is this Arizona Ranger?” The waiter backed away. “So you’re the Arizona Ranger.” Said the man with the black hat. “That’s me.” The Ranger responded. “So, Ranger, why don’t you tell us your real name? You seem right protective of it.” The Ranger stood up. “There’s no reason. Do you have a problem with that, buckteeth?” The man with the black hat clenched his fist. “No sir, I don’t. If you’re too insecure to share with us the name your parents gave you, that’s between you and them.” “You’re talkin’ mighty high for a man with an unzipped fly.” The man looked down and quickly zipped it. “So; you think you’re just plumb smart do ye? Yeah, you keep thinkin’ that. ‘Cause when Texas Red comes down tomorrow, he’ll have you singin’ your real name all throughout this town, and that’s that.” “Listen, I don’t want any trouble right now, it’s been a long day and this town ain’t exactly been too decent so far. After I take Texas Red tomorrow I’ll be out of your uncombed hair.” “Alright, cowboy,” The man with the black hat started; “Make fun of my appearance one more time.” The man had his left hand on his pistol. “If it’s all the same to you, I’m just here for some beef and biscuits. How ‘bout we just apologize to one another, and just enjoy our meal?” The Ranger reached down and put his hand on his gun.
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There was a silence. A great silence. Both men stone cold in the face staring at one another. Both men with hands on their iron. Both men fired up. Both men waiting. Silence. The man with the black hat released his grip. “Fine then, cowboy.” The Ranger released his grip. They both sat back down where they were, and finished their meal. CHAPTER SIX:TWO HOURS LEFT The Ranger woke up bright and early the next morning, it was six o’clock. The Ranger went to the Johnson Corral again that morning and had them boil the coffee. There would be a shootout this morning, and everybody knew it. The Ranger went back to the Hotel and practiced on his draw.He practiced and practiced for an hour. The Ranger was fast, fast enough to have killed many outlaws through many towns. Texas Red must’ve been fast too. Twenty men is no small amount. After an hour of practicing, the Ranger practiced again. They would meet at 11:15. Two hours left. CHAPTER SEVEN:TWENTY-ONE WOULD BE THE RANGER... The morning passed so quickly, it was time for them to meet. It was twenty past eleven when they walked out in the street. Folks were watching from the windows, everybody held their breath. They knew this handsome Ranger was about to meet his death.Finally, Texas Red and the Ranger met.Texas Red walked up close to the Ranger and looked at him from head to toe. He was much taller than the Ranger. “So,” Texas Red started in his deep voice, “you’re the one who everyone’s been talking about. The Arizona Ranger.” The Ranger stared at him, dead in the eyes. “That makes twenty-one, don’t it?” The Ranger responded. “That’s right.” Texas Red grinned. “You’ve been the talk of the town, Ranger. Not just because of your ignorance, but because of yer weapon. Yer big iron.” The Ranger kept on staring him down, right in his eyes.
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“I suppose so.” The Ranger responded. Texas Red stared at him for a while, then spit on the Ranger’s boots. “Come on, cowboy.” Texas Red said as he turned around. The Ranger clenched his fists, and turned around. They got back to back, then started walking in separate directions. The clink of both their spurs could be heard throughout the town. The same repeating sound of iron echoing through the street.They kept on walking until there was forty feet between them. Then, silence.The Ranger stared off into the distance, and so did Texas Red.Both with their back to one another.The town was silent, everyone staring at the two. Both men with their grasp on their weapon, both men dead silent and alert.The town was hushed. Then, they both turned around and shot at the same time. BANG! In less than a second, the Ranger moved swiftly, and Texas Red remained standing, motionless. The whole town’s eyes were on Texas Red and suddenly, the giant fell onto the dirt. Texas Red was shot dead. It was over in a moment and the folks had gathered ‘round. There before them lay the body of the outlaw on the ground. Oh, he might’ve went on living, but he made one fatal slip. When he tried to match the Ranger with the big iron on his hip.
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UNTITLED KYLE BEAUREGARD
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“I am Enigma” Anonymous I am solitude, But I’m afraid of being alone I am intelect, But I can’t seem to get it done I am joy, But sadness clouds my thoughts I am perspective, But I can’t see past tomorrow I am talent, But no one wants to notice I am peace, But all I do is fight I am unity, But in my mind it’s civil war I am alive, But vultures circle I am Enigma
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THE HILLS OF ME OLDE HOME UP NORTH: AN MIDDLE ENGLISCH SINGEN CARSON LUX Yea if I had the winge of an turtledove, I would flige back to wher I used to liven, I would leven this warm place at the rigt time, Whenne it becomen winter everlastingly, To see the hills of me olde home up north. This is how I will alle the wey remember me olde home, Rounded near hills in the winter time, Everly sheen and frith, Which is an memory and an moment beste spent cold, Rounded near the hills of me olde home up north. Sooner or later when the middle day sun, Warms me new home down south, I must admit me sore toward the others, Those others I had wit mid warm hearts in an cold climate, Faced down near the hills of me olde home up north.
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FOLLOWED Morgan Burroughs
CREATIVE NONFICTION AWARD
I awakened to the sound of a fierce howl. I shot up from my pillow in a cold sweat, my fleece blankets stuck to my skin. My bedroom was dark; shadows lingered among the walls and lurked within the corners. I looked at my clock that was conveniently resting on top of my nightstand: 3 AM sharp. There was a dog barking outside, and I wondered what might have disturbed it at this time. My head whipped to the side, and I looked around, I must have heard a furious growl. A burning discomfort was felt in my stomach. Could it be the monster I have been warned of many times before? Could it possibly be the late-night munchies? ‘Chocolate… peanut butter… Hot Cheetos…,’ was all I could think. I shuddered as I felt a chill in the air. ‘Ramen… cheese… Doritos…,’ was all I heard. It felt as though I was being called; as if a greater force was driving me to something that I have never known before. I immediately knew that insanity would take over me. The insanity was bound to happen if I decided to remain there, or even if I went back to sleep. It was coming closer with each second I waited. ‘Brownies… Sprite… nachos…’ I had to get out; I had to leave. I pulled back my blankets and planted my feet on the floor. I flinched when I felt my rabbit slippers brush against my toe, thinking it was some kind of creature. I hurriedly put them on and hopped off the bed. My floor creaked when I took a step. It soon became a priority to make as little noise as possible, for my mom could become quite cranky when awoken. My dresser loomed over me, casting a shadow in the moonlight; my only source of light in the dim room. With each step, along came yet another creak from my wooden floor. It was as if every tiptoe was a hammer falling to the floor. I could feel my pulse beating harder and harder in my chest with every movement. All else was still and quiet; too quiet. I almost tripped on my carpet, grabbing onto a nearby bookshelf just in time to steady myself. Unfortunately, the shelf snapped, hurling a cluster of books to the ground with a loud ‘crash!’ I took a deep breath—inhale, exhale—then continued my quest of reaching the door. It opened with a painfully loud ‘squeeeaaaak!’; but I was finally out. The thought of beyond-midnight snacks still lingered in my mind, urging me towards what was forbidden at this hour.
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The hallway was even darker than my bedroom; there were no windows to lighten my path. The creaks continued, though I can promise you my footsteps were as quiet as a mouse. Shadows lingered throughout the hallways, making sure to cover every inch of the visible wall. The wind, wailing loudly outside, was muffled by the closed windows. Well, all windows except one. This one was half-open, with cold gusts of wind and rain passing through. The curtains on either side were blowing rapidly, damp from the water traveling in. ‘Suspicious,’ I thought to myself as I quickly, yet cautiously, made my way over to shut it. Resistance was present, but it finally gave way. I wasn't careful enough, though, for it slammed down with a loud ‘bang!’ ‘Maybe this is where something could have crawled in?’ I shook my head and kept hunting. Finally, I was there. My journey had been completed. Well, almost completed. It was in sight, yet still across the room. If I made one wrong move, doom would approach. Nevertheless, I heard it buzzing. I felt it calling me. Its contents were waiting to be collected. I felt at ease in its holy presence. I was like a traveler in the desert, wandering and searching for an oasis. It felt as though days had gone since I had last seen it. Finally, I arrived there; the fridge. I closed my eyes as if relishing the moment. Once again, a deep breath— inhale, exhale. My fingertips reached out, craving the sensation of cool stainless-steal. As my hand grasped the fridge’s handle, I felt ecstatic that I had completed my journey. I tugged until the magnet released; until I could peer into the chill glory of its interior. Finally, I opened my eyes to the magnitude of its presence. The brisk air washed across my face. Alas, there was no food; I screamed.
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ODE TO MUSIC VICTORIA CARDOSO
Music, music That I love Be my heart and I'll be yours Be the rhythm of my life Be the sound that I like Make my heartbeats beat like yours Music, Music That I love There's a problem that can not be solved! I can't see, I can't smell, I can't touch, I can't taste YOU! But I know you would be Brighter than the stars Prettier than my love Soft and cold and hot I know you would be delicious And would smell better than chocolate Music, music That I love All I know is your sound All I know is the rhythm that you make.
UNTITLED DANIELLE CUTLER
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Eggmund was a small egg who lived in a big world of big eggs. All these big eggs were doing big things. These big things were making big changes. The whole egg universe was all about big stuff. If you were not big you were not cool. Eggmund was a small egg so he was not cool. Eggmund was small and weak and was not capable of anything. No one cared about Eggmund. He was left in a trash can by his parents. He grew up in a trash dump and had awful grades. He smelled bad and had cracks all over him from years of being beat up and buried by trash. One day at recess eggmund had had enough. One of the big boys had pushed him down and kicked him. Eggmund stood up and yelled, “I’m gonna do big things!!!! You’ll all see!!!!” The big boy looked at him and said, “What, you egg?” and pushed him down again. Eggmund was filled with blinding rage. He could no longer control his anger. He lifted up a nearby rock and with all his strength threw the rock at the big boy’s head. Big boy fell to the ground, dying as his egg whites leaked onto the playground’s pavement. Everyone was horrified. They couldn’t believe it. Eggmund laughed diabolically. He had lost his mind. He stood over his victim triumphantly. He emptied his lunchbox and scooped up the eggwhites of Big Boy as a trophy of his accomplishment. Then he heard police sirens so he fled back to the trash dump. As he was stumbling through the trash his lunch box got knocked open and the egg whites fell out onto a hot piece of metal. Eggmund rushed to scrape them back into the box but he was not fast enough. The egg whites cooked before he got them back into the lunch box. He made his way further back into the trash dump, angry at himself for making such a dumb mistake. Then he caught a whiff of the cooked egg whites and it smelled marvelous. This made him curious and he tasted it. It tasted amazing. Eggmund had accidentally invented the omelette.
EGGMUND'S EGGCELENT EGGVENTION LOGAN ELMORE
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City Lights KALEI SMITH
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THE GHOST OF A FLEA LOGAN ELMORE
A being so small yet a ghost so large bloodthirsty and monstrous is the ghost of a flea The souls of villainous men trapped inside staring longingly at a bowl of blood forever limited the ghost of a flea A beast so strong and mighty is yet so weak and powerless chained and in pain the ghost of a flea
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GOING TO THE RACES LEXI BROWN Carrie jolted awake as her electro-nanny rang a holographic alarm clock in her face. Its strangely electronic screeching was enough to wake the dead! “Alright! Alright! I’m up!” she screamed in its blue-lit face. Her nannydrone never seemed to know when to stop, so the alarm clock continued to ring unceasingly in her face. “Come on, already!” she swiped her hand through the glowing hologram with a scowl and swung her legs out from under the faux cotton covers.
Zooming away, her nanny-drone switched the clock off and reached a slick, glass panel on the wall. It poked at a faintly noticeable symbol in the far right, and an array of clothing appeared on the screen. Seeing that her nanny-drone was about to ruin her clothing choice for the day, Carrie roused herself from her half awake state, and rushed over. “Go eat bolts or something! Actually, no. Go make me something to eat, and make sure its not bolts; make sure it’s sweet.” As the nanny-drone sailed towards the kitchen, Carrie chose one of her all time favorite outfits, and stepped into the dressing cylinder. Completing her morning ritual in a couple minutes, she wondered what she would do if she ever had to use the old fashioned bathroom across the hall with the awful shower and sinks. Stepping out, dressed in her quickly chosen outfit, she glanced at the dresser screen as it showed a selection of clothes she might want to buy based on the choices she just picked out. Tapping a couple she liked she sent a request to her mom to buy them. She wished she had her own money. If her mom didnt say yes in a couple of days, she would just hack into her mom’s system and buy them herself. She told the dresser screen to turn off and flipped her home board into the doorway. She stepped onto her home-board, (they were one of the only families fortunate enough to be able to have indoor and outdoor boards, mainly because her mom was a neat freak), and whizzed off down the vaultedceiling room adjacent to the kitchen and skidded to a stop at the kitchen table. She slipped into one of the chair disks hovering next to the edge of the table. She liked rigging the magnet on her father’s chair, which enabled it to hover next to the table, to disconnect after a certain amount of weight was put onto it, dumping him unceremoniously on the floor. Luckily, her father was a good sport about it. She remembered he did plenty of things to annoy his parents when he was a teenager. Her mother, on the other hand, had been the perfect student at school and home, acing her studies and easily becoming the teachers pet in all of her classes. Carrie didn’t ever remember her mother telling her of anything fun or mischievous she had done when she was younger. Which, of course, made her entirely unsympathetic when Carrie had a bit of fun or skipped school on occasion. 39 | THE UNSPOKEN
Seeing her nanny-drone whiz into the room with a covered platter, she was actually glad she had gotten up on time today so that she could eat breakfast before having to rush out of the house. She had skipped the last few breakfasts, and appreciated this one. Even though it didn’t bother her too much on normal days, she wanted to be nourished because she would probably skip lunch today. She was disappointed with her nanny’s perception of “sweet”, which seemed to mean protein patties and modified apple slices floating in a pool of some random sauce, like dead fish in a barrel. Foregoing the “apple slices” she stuffed a couple patties in her mouth and headed to the main kitchen. Rummaging through the compact travel foods, she threw a couple items in her big canvas bag to mingle with all the useful gadgets she stored there, and slipped out the back door. Exchanging her home-board for the one she used on the street, she went off down the street at a rapid pace. As soon as she was across the courtyard and down the back alley, she pulled out her e-touch and swiftly hacked into her mother’s, sending a message to her homeroom teacher explaining that “Carrie would, unfortunately, not be able to come to school today because of food poisoning from last night”. She had become an expert at everything electronic in the past few years, and was proud of that accomplishment, but it was the practicality that really made it important to her. She hacked into one system or another every day, always with an important job to accomplish. Reaching a random pile of junk left by her neighbors, she unearthed her secret street-board, traded it for her other one, and sped away, logging off her mom’s e-touch as she did. She was going to have to be quick today if she was going to be able to get home at the usual time she got back from school. Carrie wished she could have taken the car, because it would have cut her travel time and given her more time where she was headed, but she didn’t want her parents tracking her. She knew they didn’t have a tracker on this secret board, because they didn’t know she had it. She had seen the need to buy her freedom with a second hoverboard. She got it from that little gem of a convenience store down the street; unmonitored stores not owned by the big monopolized companies were rare these days. This board was her pride. She had modified it in every way possible, and had added artistic curved metal dragon wings on the back. In order to distribute the weight evenly, she had needed to add something to the front, so she created a metal wire dragon head, interwoven with all the wires needed for her more technical modifications. The value of the board had gone up to almost double what she had originally paid for it, but she wouldn’t even think of selling it. There would be no point because she would still need a board for herself.
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She let her thoughts wander for a moment, and then, when her thinking got way off track, she pulled herself back to the matter at hand. She needed to pop in at a shop owned by a friend so she could get the helmet she had preordered, and then hurry over to the subway where her friend, Michael, said he would be waiting. Her parents weren’t so fond of him because he wasn’t a traditionalist like they were. He had gone to the new virtual races for at least three years now so that he could get a taste of racing before he could actually race legally. The races were illegal for anyone under eighteen and this had been his dream ever since he was six. Carrie understood why they had set an age limit because these races could sometimes be fatal when there were big racers and huge bets occurring, and the extreme speeds made it dangerous for the drivers, who could suddenly slam into any number of obstacles or other racers in a second. Many people thought that because of all the new technologies being invented for the highly modified gravity defying cars, that they would be less dangerous. In actuality, there was the skill of balancing the use of all the modern technologies and your own driving skills to consider as well. There were some instances where safety features would prevent you from completing a life-saving maneuver. The best drivers on the track used a combination of modern safety features, hand-crafted gadgets that were often on the edge of being illegal, and age old techniques that had been proven time and again. She thought of all the historical fiction movies she had seen of people who had thought that there would be flying cars in the near future, but here they were today with, yes, hi-tech, but still not actually ‘flying’ cars and they still had problems with them! She thought about how amazing it would be if they actually would have flying cars in the near future. Maybe she could be the one to come up with the ingenious idea! Inventors had become multi billionaires by using simple knowledge of magnetism and an idea similar to the magnet seats they used every day to invent cars that went twice the speed and were up to as much as 80% safer than older cars. She has thought the idea of implanting magnets in the cars as well as the track was ingenious at first, but now it had become her passion. Her whole life centered around racing, and she had always wanted to go to the race track. And that was where they were going! Not the virtual kind either, they were going to the real thing! She was so excited that she would finally be going to the races that her parents had prevented her from going to for so long.
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She knew that nothing actually bad ever happened at these events, at least the type they were going to today. She was still too young to race the dangerous cars because you had to have years of documented experience before you could pass the entry test, but Michael had chosen her to be his co-pilot, which was a close second to actually being on the track. She would wear the specially made helmet, which she had just picked up, as a simulator so that it would feel as if she were actually in the car with him. She didn’t feel like she would be much of a help to Michael during the course of the race; he would do amazing without any help at all. Carrie had watched him practice in the virtual races before and was blown away by his skill. He had never had a trainer, so he taught himself everything he knew today, and, though his technique was very unique, he was an excellent racer. She knew he would place high for sure. The race he was entering was for amateurs, so he wouldn’t have any trouble placing within the top ten or even the top five even though he had never raced before at the real track. She reached the station and searched for the correct terminal. As she made her way across the terminal, she spotted him slouched against a support beam with his helmet tucked under his arm. People were glancing at him, while trying to seem as if they weren’t looking at him, so it turned out that it looked like the entire terminal was looking anywhere but that one support column that he was leaning against. The thing is, that he attracted attention wherever he went, not just because he was wearing a shiny, professional-looking racer’s suit, but because he just had a confident air about him that made people feel like he knew where he was going in life, knew how to get there, and would be important when he got there. And maybe he would. Tonight would be an important one for him and his life career. It would be for her as well, because she planned on this being the first of a very regular schedule of coming to the races.
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STUCK IN YOUR HEAD
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INTRUDER ALERT DAVID ABERNETHY
I was asleep and the night was tranquil. It was Christmas Day, well around midnight, when all of a sudden, I wake up to my mom screaming. SWABAM! I heard the door swing open so of course I woke up my brother up. It could be anyone down there, what’s happening? My brother and I got out of bed cautiously and slowly to see what was happening downstairs. We were silent, sneaking down to investigate. We went down stealthily incase something was wrong, but to my absolute bewilderment, I saw Santa Claus standing in my foyer! “Merry Christmas!” He exclaimed with a mighty voice. I couldn’t believe my eyes, and I thought I was still asleep. I didn’t know what to say, so I just smiled and said,“Oh, hey!” My brother and I went downstairs and approached the man, and sure enough, I wasn’t dreaming. I looked around and was still astounded and half asleep. My dad was heading down the stairs just then. My mom and dad seemed to be handling it better but my brother was as surprised as me; Santa was in our house making a special stop for us! We all went into the living room with the Christmas tree and the flood light on. He was wearing the typical Santa attire, with his red velvet coat and pants along with his black boots. (And and of course, he was plump.) But he had an innocent smile on his face, and he looked trustworthy and wise. (If this is the real deal, though.) The man sat down next to me on the leather couch as he began to speak. I can’t remember exactly what he said, but he was telling us how he was 1,000 years old and how he had a key that could get into every house. This was astounding. He talked to us about fifteen minutes and then paused. He looked at my parents, then at my brother and I. “I hear that we’ve been having some problems with the elves.” The elves he was referring to was the two elf on the shelf’s we had. With the elves, you aren’t supposed to touch them, but I had been touching them everyday and even moving them. I guess Santa found out finally. He explained that their magic isn’t lost yet, he grabbed them both and walked into the kitchen. He then opened up the freezer door, and stuck them in. He turned and told us that if he puts them in the freezer and let them sit overnight, their magic will be restored. That was interesting, I’ve never heard that one before. Then he turned to the kitchen table and went toward it.
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He looked at the cookie and milk lying there and took a bite. No crumbs in his beard, he was very neat. Meanwhile, while he was distracted, my brother went to the computer and faced it toward Santa, for proof that he came to our house. He ate a cookie and drank some milk and complimented them. After a little while we went back to the living room again. Finally, he grabbed a red hat for Michael out of his sack. He explained that this hat was special and that it brings Christmas spirit. My brother took it and put it on. My brother seemed satisfied with this gift, especially coming from Santa. Then he pulled out a 22 rifle. I looked at my dad, my dad looked at me, and my brother’s face lit up. That was my gift; my brother got a hat and I got a gun. I was expecting like a phone case or a new backpack, not a gun from Santa. Of course he explained the precautions of guns and how to be safe around them, and then handed it to me. I had asked for a 22 but I assumed my dad would get it, but this was good too. We talked for just a little while longer, and then he had to leave and keep on delivering toys. He wished us a goodnight and we gave our goodbyes to Santa. We went upstairs and watched him get into his rusty pickup truck and drive off. That was the last we ever saw of Santa, a truly sentimental and special moment of my childhood. I still don’t know what happened to all the reindeer, though.
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It was a rainy, dreary day: a type of day that Ellie had become accustomed to over the years. She had woken up, gotten ready, and eaten a piece of toast with butter for breakfast. Every morning before school, Ellie would briefly glance at the television in the family room before heading off to school. While most days the tv was streaming boring forecasts and repetitive news reports, today seemed off. Projected on the tv today was a news report about how the weather was going to be - stormy with moderate gusts of wind and a high chance of tornadoes. We always get rain, but tornadoes? I guess it’s not that out of the ordinary, especially considering that bad storms are bound to come along with all this rain, Ellie thought to herself, walking back to the kitchen to grab her backpack before heading out the door for school. Just before Ellie reached the door, the doorbell rang out with a ding-dong! She slowly approached the door, sneaking over to peek out of the dining room window next to the front door. It was quite odd for someone to be visiting their house or delivering a package this early in the morning. All of her family and friends were either at work or school, so Ellie was cautious about the situation - and rightfully so. She slid the cool plastic blinds over to the side only to see that no one was at the door and that the only people remotely close to her yard were teenagers passing by on their walk to school. She felt her heart rate slow, realizing only then that it had ever gotten fast. She calmly walked over to the door, opening it and scanning her surroundings, seeing the trees across the street and her driveway in front of her. There’s no one out here, and nothing seems strange. Maybe it was just my imagination, she thought to herself just before looking down to see a small box sitting on the front porch. The box was addressed to Ellie Mayes and written in the middle of the box was her address. Upon further examination, Ellie came to the conclusion that the box had no return address, which she found to be quite interesting for any normal school packet or delivery from Amazon. She walked back into the house making sure to shut and lock the door before sauntering into the dining room and taking a seat on one of the family’s high-backed chairs. She set the box on the table. Surely this box isn’t meant for me, Ellie thought, recounting memories of her sisters’ success and recognition from her parents. Yet, despite her constant striving, Ellie’s success remained completely unnoticed. Though Freya always got all the attention from their parents, Ellie decided to take a chance, cautiously opening the box in hopes that the addressed name wasn’t a mistake. Perhaps the box was actually meant for an ordinary person like her. The first item in the box was a note which read, Dear Ellie, You have been chosen. Planet earth is in great danger, and we need you to save it. Take the key provided in the box and head to school. During your lunch period, make your way to the back of the school by the dumpster. Your mission awaits. Good luck.
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A CHANCE TO SAVE THE WORLD
The second item was the aforementioned, quite tarnished and slightly dusty key. At this point, Ellie knew that this must be a prank. Perhaps her neighbors were trying to trick her, or maybe her sister was trying to make her seem completely crazy in order to gain more recognition from their parents. Either way, after a moment of thinking, Ellie came to the conclusion that, while this was quite possibly the dumbest or most idiotic stupidest thing she had ever heard in her fifteen years of living, the journey sounded quite fun, and she had absolutely nothing else to do with her free time. She hated school anyway; what would skipping one lunch period matter? Since the distance from Ellie’s house to her somewhat small, yet seemingly overpopulated, high school wasn’t too far, most days walking was the most convenient mode of transportation. Though she wasn’t classified as completely antisocial, the number of people she considered to be her close friends was certainly dwindling. Her main focus was school, and anything other than that had to wait to earn her attention. Before Ellie knew it, her morning classes had passed and it was her lunch period. I can just grab something to eat when I get home, she thought to herself as she pushed the cold door handle down, exiting the school. Once she was outside, she took a short walk in the drizzly weather to the back of the school near the dumpster; small droplets of cool rain hitting her face as the wind blew towards her. Just as she rounded the corner of the dumpster, a bright purple light shone in her eyes; a light so bright that when she closed her eyes, small violet squiggles sat on her eyelids. Shielding her eyes, Ellie made an attempt to approach the portal once again, but her efforts were futile. The light was far too bright for her to look at, but she wanted to know what was going on - who these supposed “people” were and why they wanted her to save the world for them. She reached out, not on purpose, but accidentally in an attempt to provide a better shield from the light. Suddenly, everything went dark. In her mission to discover what the light was, she had accidentally touched it. Everything around her was silent, all she saw was darkness, and when she looked down to make sure that she was actually still human, she saw that she was standing on top of a form of dark, thick mud. Her feet were halfway submerged, and when she lifted one up to walk, the other sank more due to the unequal distribution of her weight. Quicksand, she thought to herself, immediately wishing that she had paid attention to the part of her self defense course where they discussed the dangers of quicksand and how to escape it. Oh, how stupid she was, thinking that she would never use that class. She tried taking a couple more steps, but once again, her efforts proved themselves completely useless. Maybe if I run, I’ll be able to get out quickly, she thought, trying to lift her feet out of the marsh, but the plan didn’t work. Instead of her quickly crossing what seemed like the never ending sea of quicksand, she sunk at a rapid rate. Before she knew it, she was wiggling around in quicksand that went up to her neck; and she couldn’t get out. Grasping for something to hold but not being able to find anything, Ellie gave up, waiting for herself to sink to her death.
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Ellie gave up, waiting for herself to sink to her death. Instead of “seeing the light,” for some reason, she wasn’t dying. In fact, she could breathe perfectly fine. She slowly opened her eyes to see, instead of a completely dark world, a completely bright room. The room resembled that of a photo studio. Its perfect light and seamless walls were extremely confusing to the naked eye. As Ellie scanned the room, she noticed a single wooden box with a note sitting on top of it. She briskly walked over to read the note, seeing that it said, You have the key, now open the box. Ellie remembered the key that she had been carrying around all day, and reached into her pocket to retrieve it. She looked down to see the, now clean from being in her pocket all day, key. She crouched down to the box and slowly unlocked the lock, turning the key in a cautious manner. At its’ final click, Ellie closed her eyes, pushing the lid of the box open and feeling a room-temperature rush of air hit her face. Suddenly, as far as she could tell, the brightness that surrounded her was gone, and all that sat on her eyelids was a dull flesh-toned color. After taking a moment to build up some courage, Ellie opened her eyes to the third completely new scene today. Upon opening her eyes, she realized that something was different. She was back home, standing in her kitchen with a small ceramic plate sitting in front of her on the counter. She looked around, seeing the television through the kitchen doorway and noticing that the news report was about a local car crash. After focusing on the tv screen for a few moments in a trance-like state, Ellie took a step back. Just as she leaned up against the counter, the warm toast that was apparently in the toaster was done. She must have jumped two feet straight up in the air out of fear! She grabbed the toast, quickly dropping it on her plate and walking over to the fridge to grab some butter. This was her normal morning routine. Ellie heard the click-clack of heels walking down the hallway, and Freya soon appeared at the door smirking and saying, “What’s got you so freaked out this morning, Ellie? On a mission to save the world?” Freya laughed and proceeded to walk into the living room to grab her bag. Wait, Ellie thought, a mission to save the world? She quickly ran over to the television set, flipping channels at a rapid rate until she came across the same one she was watching that morning.
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There was nothing. There was absolutely nothing indicating that any of her morning yesterday, or whenever it happened - had ever happened. She looked up to see Freya carrying her backpack, standing at the door waiting for Ellie. “Are you coming with me or not?” She asked, walking over to grab the toast off of the plate Ellie was still holding, taking a bite out of it and placing it back down. “Come on, Ellie. You’re gonna make me late for school!” She frowned, looking slightly annoyed. Ellie stared directly at her, slightly confused. “So, no tornadoes?” Ellie asked, feeling extremely discombobulated. “No? I’m leaving,.” Freya said, walking out the door and leaving Ellie behind. Normally Ellie would be mad at a situation like this, but right now, she was smiling. She wasn’t smiling because of all the confusion. Ellie was smiling because she had saved the world - it must have all been a daydream - but at least she had saved the world; and at that moment, that was all that mattered to her.
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UNTITLED OLIVIA SMITH
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OUR TEAM LIV FLOYD TEACHING SUPERVISOR EDITOR-IN-CHIEF KATHLEEN DIAL STUDENT HEAD EDITOR ANNA TAYLOR ASSISTANT HEAD EDITOR MCKENNA WALTERS PHOTO & ART EDITOR MICAH BURROUGHS GRAPHIC DESIGN
BOARD MEMBERS DAVID ABERNETHY MORGAN BURROUGHS VICTORIA CARDOSO EMILY CROCKER LILLY CRUMP DANIELLE CUTLER DENNIIS KHOR ASHTON LYTLE KRISTIAN PEPPERS
ANDERSON CHRISTIAN SCHOOL 2020 | THE UNSPOKEN